About six weeks ago I contacted Sheila Sheppard, a Nutritional Therapist in Milton Keynes (UK) who founded NutriBaby.co.uk. Our little girl Ava suffered terribly with colic which was quite obviously ‘tummy-related’ in some way. However we’d never really gotten to the bottom of the issue despite repeated visits to the doctor and had been prescribed everything from lactose free milk to reflux medication and baby laxatives.
But, within twenty minutes of meeting Sheila, and describing Ava’s symptoms to her over a coffee, she had told me exactly what the problem was and how I could solve it. I followed her advice and, hey presto, two days later we had one happy little girl and a much happier house!
I’m so amazed at how simple it was, and even more amazed at how no doctor, nurse or health visitor was able to give us that same advice years ago and save Ava from years of pain and discomfort. Not to mention the tears and stress it has caused the whole family!
Now, your baby may well be suffering from colic as a result of the same issue as Ava. So I’d I’m telling you this story in the hope that, if this is the case, you can get to the bottom of it straight away and save yourself, your baby and the rest of your family months or even years’ worth of tears.
First, allow me to rewind to a little over three and a half years ago when our little Ava was a small baby. Now, bear with me on this, I can waffle on a bit but I need to let you know a bit about the impact of Ava’s symptoms before I can explain the remarkably simple piece of advice that Sheila gave me.
Well, from the beginning, Ava’s chronic colic symptoms seemed to stem from some kind of digestive issue. That much was clear. Her little stomach would cramp up shortly after every feed (whether breast or bottle) and she would begin screaming uncontrollably. Because of her tummy pains she wanted to be held all the time, had difficulty sleeping, and basically cried non-stop for hours on end.
Of course, we thought it was a problem with her milk and investigated a variety of ‘easily digestible’ off-the-shelf formulas before being prescribed lactose-free formula. This went some way to help the situation and her stomach cramps subsided. But she was still far from happy.
The thing is we couldn’t pin-point exactly what was wrong. She had reflux and seemed to bring up more feeds than she kept down; this no doubt left her experiencing symptoms of acid indigestion, particularly when she was lying down. She was very windy and, on the odd occasion that she actually laughed, she ended up with a serious bout of painful hiccups which left her in tears.
And then there was the constipation. She had it bad and I mean really bad. She would regularly go for up to five or six days without a dirty nappy and we ended up being sent to a consultant at the hospital to undergo barium x-rays to investigate whether her intestines were blocked or twisted. Thankfully tests showed that her intestines were normal.
Nobody could give us a real answer as to why Ava was so constipated and distressed. So throughout her baby days we were prescribed a continual dose of Gavascon (for her reflux), gripe water and ‘Lactulose’ or stool softener to help her poo.
As Ava grew into a toddler her reflux thankfully subsided. But she still did not have a happy tummy by any means. And, as time went on, this had a knock on effect on everything from her behaviour, to her relationship with her food – it was probably obvious to her that food was somehow causing her tummy pains and so she simply refused to eat anything that was not bread or pasta. This no doubt made her tummy worse not better.
Her constipation was as bad as ever and as we potty trained her she developed what can only be described as a complete ‘phobia’ of the toilet. By the time she had gone three or four days without a bowel movement, taking her out anywhere was a stressful event. She became increasingly clingy not settling with anyone other than me, my husband and our child-minder. And by day four or five of ‘no-bowel-movement’ she was literally screaming the house down in extreme distress for hours on end.
Life was stressful and miserable (not to mention smelly due to the accompanying painful gas!) and we were at the end of our tethers.
Sheila is a Nutritional Therapist specialising in babies and children and she is the founder of an organisation called Nutibaby. After I’d described the situation above she simply smiled and said “it sounds to me like she has a gut-bacteria imbalance.”
She went on to describe how newborn babies can develop this often, but not always, after they have come into contact with antibiotics, either through being prescribed them themselves or through their mother. Interestingly, when I later looked back through Ava’s medical book I recalled that she had actually had an eye infection when she was a week or two old for which she was prescribed antibiotic eye-drops. This coincided with the start of her colic and something now tells me this was no coincidence!
What Ava needed, according to Sheila, was a probiotic supplement. Luckily the health food store was across the way from the Costa where we were sitting and she kindly walked me over and talked me through exactly what I needed.
That evening I mixed a dose in with Ava’s yoghurt. I have done the same every day since and I cannot begin to explain the difference it has made, and not only to Ava but to the stress levels of the whole family.
From day two of taking the supplement Ava has become an altogether happier little girl. She goes to the toilet regularly, with no fuss and she no longer has days of clinginess and crying. I honestly can’t believe the change in her – and from something so simple.
I’m so grateful to Sheila that I felt compelled to write this post to spread the word to other parents who might benefit. It would be really great if you could do the same, so why not make use of the share buttons below to share to your friends on Facebook. Better still, pick five of your friends who are parents of small babies, copy the link to this article: http://www.colic-sos.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-your-babys-tummy-troubles/ into an e-mail and send it to them with a friendly note.
Who knows, you may well be saving them weeks, months or even years of tears!